I have spent many years helping my hubby out at weddings and wedding fairs. He is a mobile DJ and does a lot of work at weddings, besides all the usual parties for 18th, 21st, 50th birthdays and of course anniversaries. I have been to hundreds of weddings over the past 10 years.
The wedding industry is huge and caters for everything you could possibly think of to help make your day the best day of your life. There is something for everyone at the wedding fairs – wedding dresses for brides, suits for the grooms and their entourage, dresses for bridesmaids, outfits for page boys, dresses for mothers of the brides. There are venues, photographers, videographers, photo booths, florists with fresh flowers, florists with silk flowers, decorations for the tables, balloons for arches, makeup artists, hairdressers, barbers, lingerie suppliers, marquees, tableware, furniture, caterers, waiting staff, bars (either dry or wet), dance floors, bands, discos, karaoke – to name but a few.
And one thing I have noticed over the years is that there is a huge amount of pressure on the brides to conform. I say the brides, although it could equally be the grooms at a same sex wedding. In general, wedding fairs are organised and aimed at the brides and the mothers of the brides. Often it is the mother of the bride who has the expectations for a wedding for her daughter.
There is pressure to have the right wedding dress, the right venue, the right wedding breakfast, the right buffet, the right music, the right wine/champagne, to invite the right people and so on.
I have attended many weddings where everything is just the same as the last one. It all happens in the same order – a bit like a conveyor belt. Bride and groom come in one end, perform all the ceremonies, appear at top table, make speeches, cut the cake, do first dance, party and then go off on honeymoon.
And the pressure is on for your wedding to be better than the last one you went to. Or better than your best friend’s or better than your mother’s best friend’s daughter’s wedding. And so on.
If what I have described is exactly what you want for your wedding, go ahead and do it. It may be your dream wedding, the one you have been yearning for since you were five years old. If that is the case, enjoy your day safe in the knowledge that it is exactly what you want. After all it is your day.
But does it have to be that way? No it doesn’t. What if you want something more relaxed, lower key, less pressured, more simple or just completely different?
Go for it!
I have attended a couple of weddings where the whole thing was relaxed. At one the bride and groom wanted to emulate a beach party. They hired a hall with a piece of land outside. The bride and groom wore ‘beach wear’ – she was in a smart, summer dress, he was in casual trousers and Hawaiin type shirt. The men on the top table had straw hats and light jackets. The rest of the guests were in smart, casual beach wear. The table decorations were simple with a circular mirror on each which had pebbles and sand on them, a little candle and that was it. The table names were all referred to something to do with the sea or the beach. The food was a hog roast outside, the bar was a trestle table stocked with cans, bottles etc., which the guests helped themselves from. They all had a great time and were relaxed.
At another reception, the bride wore a very smart, short dress and the groom wore smart trousers and a jacket. The guests were all in casual clothes, the food and bar were organised by the family and a great time was had by all.
There was no pressure to conform, no pressure to look the same or better than someone else, no pressure to provide the best food. They had a perfectly relaxed and enjoyable day.
At another wedding, the couple each had children and grandchildren, they wanted them all to be involved and invited them all to be bridesmaids, ushers, page boys and the day was loosely planned, but they went with the flow. When the little grandchildren wanted to play, they played. Once the wedding ceremony was completed, the reception carried on in a way that was good for everyone. All the formalities were completed and the rest of the time, the party went on with everyone involved.
If you want to be married in the forest by a friend, you may have to do the legal bit first in a Register Office, but you can have the ceremony you want, where you want, with whom you want without the need to compare yourself or your wedding to anyone or anybody else’s.
Why not spend the weekend at a vintage caravan site, hire a small marquee, hire some sound gear and speakers, put on the music from your ipod, get some deckchairs, a barbecue and your friends and have a party outside. Be relaxed, really enjoy the day and the company.
Invite the people to your wedding who you really want to be there. If you don’t want Great Aunt Vi to attend, then don’t invite her. If you want to have a small wedding with only a handful of guests, do just that. It is your day. No matter what sort of wedding you have, there is bound to be someone you don’t to be there and who you fear you will offend. Let them be offended. It is your day – have the day that you want.
Some people go off to another country to get married on the beach. The couple go without any guests and enjoy the ceremony on their own terms. But then they have a party when they come back and invite those they want to help them celebrate. Do that if you would like. The reception can be as large or as small as you want.
Remember it is your day. Have the wedding you want, not what somebody else wants. If you are happy on your wedding day and everything is as you have planned, you will enjoy it so much more, the memories you create will live with you forever. Be yourself, have what you want and don’t have what you don’t want forced upon you.
If any of this resonates with you, and you would like some help building your confidence and gaining the courage to stand up for what you really want, get in touch with me and we can have a free 15 minute chat.
Thought Leader, Coach, Speaker, Author, Survivor
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
Find out more about me and my ‘Why’ on my website